Thursday, April 24, 2008

London Itinerary: Saturday, 10 May 2008

8:00a They say that you have to be there when the market opens at 7a in order to find all the deals and not have to fight the ridiculous crowds. I'm just there for the local color. We used to watch Bedknobs & Broomsticks all the time when I was little. So, how could I not stop by the Portobello Road Market? It opens every Saturday at 7a and stretches almost the full length of the road through Notting Hill. With the exchange rate from pounds sterling to U.S. dollars being as high as it is, I don't think I'll buy anything of note. They do, however, have a fruit and veg market in addition to the antiques, so I'll pick up a little something to tide me over until lunch. By the way, I'll be so disappointed if there aren't people in turbans and others in kilts waiting to sing and dance for me.

12:00p Madame Tussaud's is always crowded, from what I hear. So, we've put that off for today when the weekend crowds won't make much of a difference. It's just a bunch of wax figures, so I don't think I'll get too perturbed if people get in my way. How weird to stand beside something that looks so much like a real person, but they don't breathe or move. Don't get me wrong--I want to go even though it sounds like I'm complaining. This is the closest that I'll get to seeing the relative height and likeness of most of these celebrities or historical figures. And it's art, for kripes sake. People make people out of wax. That has to be interesting. I wonder if anyone will notice if I leave my teeth marks in Oprah's forehead.

2:30p I wanted most of the afternoon to do this. St. Martin-in-the-Fields has a brass-rubbing center. "What is a brass-rubbing," you ask? I had the same question when I first read about it. It's quite the novel medieval art form. One uses all shades of soft metals and other color pigments to produce a figure (lady, lord, knight, etc.) on heavy paper. It's just unique enough that I've made this a priority on my trip. I love to create, and this is one of those activities that I want to fully experience while I have the opportunity. No hurry. No other place to be. Nothing on the mind but appreciating the originality within myself.

7:30p I'll have finished at the brass-rubbing center at 6p and found a place nearby to eat. I'm still in Trafalgar Square, so I go back to St. Martin-in-the-Fields for an evening concert. I've never heard of the Festive Orchestra of London, but take a look at their program! It's all famous works. You almost never get that lucky with concerts. I have recordings of my favorite concertos, sonatas, etc., but I want to hear that stuff performed live. And nobody does that. It's the music that everyone knows, but in order to be musically diverse and interesting, the orchestras choose something obscure. Now, I get to hear some of my favorites performed live. And I just love them for this: it's a candlelight concert. That's all you need, isn't it?! If they're performing such lovely music, they have to add such a delicious ambiance through candlelight. Great music, candlelight, a beautiful and old church--it's a feast for the senses. I can't wait.

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